A Miscarriage Of Service

| USA | Working | March 21, 2017

(My mom is pregnant with her first child when she is told by the doctor that she has suffered a miscarriage, which devastates her. She is told to come in for an aftercare procedure a week later.)

Nurse: “Okay, we’ll just do a quick ultrasound to check that everything’s in order, and then we’ll begin.”

Mom: “Okay.”

Nurse: *looks at ultrasound results and blanches* “Um, I’m sorry, Ms. [Mom], will you excuse me for a moment?” *steps outside*

Nurse: *returns, looking harried* “Um, well… it seems there’s been a mistake.”

Mom: *worried* “What kind of mistake?”

Nurse: “It appears that there was no miscarriage. Your baby’s still alive.”

Mom: “What?!”

Nurse: “I’m very sorry, Ms. [Mom]. I don’t know how this could have happened…”

Mom: “But it’s alive? It’s okay?”

Nurse: “Yes, and of course we’ll run further tests, but from what I can tell it seems perfectly healthy.”

(The doctor later came to apologize for his mistake, but by then my mother had already made the decision to switch to someone else’s care. My older brother was, happily, delivered without incident.)

Be-Labor-ing The Point Too Much

| Peterborough, ON, Canada | Working | March 9, 2017

(I’m roughly seven months pregnant, and I’m 18 years. While having a shower, I notice a bit of blood, and discover that I’m heavily spotting, which should not be happening at this point in my pregnancy. Just to make sure everything is all right with my baby, I head to the hospital with my mom. This conversation happens after I’ve already been checked in and waiting on a hospital bed in the emergency department.)

Nurse #1: *motions to a swab* “We’re going to take a swab from you to determine if you’re in pre-term labor. This shouldn’t hurt, so don’t worry.”

Me: *nodding in agreement* “All right. I really hope I’m not.”

(Nurse #1 takes the swab and puts it in a sterile bag for processing. She leaves, telling me that it shouldn’t take too long to test. We wait only a half hour before another nurse, Nurse #2, comes to the side of my hospital bed with a strange look on her face, somewhere in between concern and disgust.)

Nurse #1: *looking sternly at me, speaking in a condescending manner* “Have you been… putting stuff ‘up there’?”

Me: *confused* “Uh… excuse me?”

Nurse #1: *again, condescending tone* “You know! Like… STUFF. Have you been… ‘playing’ with yourself with strange objects? Or having unprotected sex?!”

(My mom and I exchange weird looks. I assume she MUST be joking or something, since I often miss jokes completely or misunderstand.)

Me: *laughing and sarcastic, as I haven’t done anything even REMOTELY sexual throughout the entire pregnancy and have been essentially asexual* “Oh, yeah, ALLLLLL the time….”

Nurse #1: *yelling* “WELL, NOW YOU’VE PURPOSELY ENDANGERED YOUR CHILD BECAUSE YOU DECIDED TO BE SLUTTY INSTEAD OF RESPONSIBLE. THERE IS A TON IF BACTERIA ‘UP THERE’ THAT I CAN ONLY ASSUME IS CAUSING YOUR PRE-TERM LABOR. YOU COULD LOSE YOUR CHILD! HOW DARE YOU!”

([Nurse #2 stomps off, muttering JUST loud enough for me to hear that I’ve “just killed my baby,” repeatedly. I’m confused and start to cry because I’m pregnant, overly emotional, and obviously I don’t want my baby to die. Nurse #1 comes back and hands me a tissue with a sympathetic look on her face.)

Nurse #1: “I’m sorry, sweetie. You ARE in fact in pre-term labor, so we’ll have to admit you and try to stop it. Gather your things and follow me; I have a private room for you on the labor ward.”

(I’m still crying and my mom at this point is fuming.)

Mom: “You had better make sure that [Nurse #2] stays the hell away from my daughter. What kind of person would say things like that to a pregnant girl?!”

Nurse #1: *apologetic* “I know. I’m so sorry. She’s very religious and makes comments like those all the time. I don’t know why she’s still here, honestly.”

(I ended up staying in the labor ward for a full week before I gave birth to my son, who came out huge and healthy, only needing CPAP for two days due to underdeveloped lungs. I saw Nurse #1 a few more times during my stay and each time she was incredibly kind to me. I never saw Nurse #2 again, and to this day I don’t know how “a ton of bacteria” got on my cervix. A couple of other nasty things happened at this hospital during my stay as well — which I’ll post separately — but those had nothing to do with the previous nurses.)

Def-Eat-ed

| Atlanta, GA, USA | Right | March 4, 2017

(A teenage girl who was seen earlier in my emergency department shift for vomiting has returned. When she was discharged earlier she was given prescriptions and told to only eat clear liquids for 24 hours. Her mother is with her.)

Patient: “I stopped vomiting while I was here but it started again when I was at home.”

Me: “Did you take the medicine you were prescribed?”

Mother: “The doctor said she should only eat clear liquids. That medicine is a pill. She can’t take it because it is not a clear liquid.”

Me: “Well, she should only eat clear liquids except for the medicine. The medicine will help control the vomiting.”

Mother: *starting to get louder and agitated* “I know what the doctor told her! I was sitting right here! You are not even the doctor! You don’t know! She can’t take that medicine because she can ONLY have clear liquids!”

(At this point then girl vomits again and I can clearly see undigested hamburger meat in the emesis bag.)

Me: “Did you eat a hamburger after you left the hospital earlier?”

Mother: “Well, she was hungry! She had to eat something!”

Their Second Child Was Called ‘Desk’

| Scotland, UK | Related | February 28, 2017

(A few minutes after I was born, my parents start discussing baby names (ie: checking if they still like the one they picked out). My mum was sedated during labor and was a little… strange.)

Dad: “So it’s agreed. We’re calling him [My Name].”

Mum: “Actually, I don’t think it suits him.” *looks around the room* “We should call him Window!”

Dad: “Uh… maybe you need some more time to…”

Mum: “No! His name is Window. It’s perfect!”

(Luckily, my mum wasn’t allowed anywhere near the birth certificate for some time. They ended up using the name they had chosen originally.)

Having A Self-Awakening

| Tulsa, OK, USA | Friendly | February 27, 2017

(Years back I had a bizarre form of pneumonia (no disease preceding it and apparently something got lodged in one lung). I hadn’t slept in nearly 2 days and I was exhausted. The doctors found the right combination of drugs to get me some relief. I’m in a bay in the ER and I can finally feel some welcome sleep approaching and just as I’m going under, there’s an awful squealing from some equipment nearby. I figure maybe it’s the guy next spot over dying or something. I calm down and try to fall back asleep again. Just as I’m about to fall into a nice sleep, that alarm goes off again. Dammit. Once again I’m awake from the guy next door. After this happens about four or five times, I think “screw it, I can ignore him and just sleep.” I did it. Next time the alarm went off I managed to ignore it and sailed right off to sleep. But it didn’t last. The next thing I know I’m being gently slapped in the face. I open my eyes to see the gentle face of a clearly worried and compassionate nurse who said:)

Nurse: “Breathe for me, honey!”

(In that moment I discovered I had sleep apnea… and also just how nice nurses could be. Thankfully they switched off the breathing alarm; I was the jack-a** who was making the noise that woke me.)

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